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Torment Interview at GameBanshee

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Torment Interview at GameBanshee

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 27 March 2013, 16:38:05

Tags: Colin McComb; inXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

There's an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera leads Kevin Saunders and Colin McComb over at GameBanshee. I'll post the most Codex-critical bits:

GB: Choices with consequences is one the core pillars of Planescape: Torment, and you’ve made it clear that Tides of Numenera will be similar. Despite its focus on C&C, Planescape still told a very fixed story that didn’t change too dramatically; rather the consequences of actions were more in the smaller details. Are there plans for greater gameplay consequences in Tides of Numenera, or is the story going to remain similarly linear?

Colin: We do plan for great gameplay consequences. We want the story to be a logical, natural outgrowth of the actions you’ve taken throughout the game so that there is no “best” ending... or rather, that the best ending is every ending, because it’s the culmination of how you played.​

GB: Many consider the combat in Planescape: Torment to be one of its weaker elements; while not necessarily poor, it was hardly the highlight of the game. Has the decision for turn-based or real-time-with-pause combat been made yet? Is combat going to be tactical and complex, or are you more interested in infusing it with meaningful narrative context?

Colin: We haven’t made a final decision on the combat yet, but it’s one that we’re looking at very carefully. We want to get it right. We’re confident that our core vision for combat will help us do that, and to that end we’ve defined a number of must-haves for our combat system. First, it needs to be avoidable in at least most situations. We don’t want to force people into combat. Second, the player must be able to make meaningful decisions before combat: what to wear, what to equip, what to ready, and how to affect the environment so that it can work to their advantage as well. Third, players must be able to make meaningful decisions within combat, rather than clicking a mouse and letting it roll. We want the combat to be tactical, but we’re also well aware that too much complexity changes the focus of the game from the narrative to the combat, so we want to make sure that combat is connected to the narrative, rather than being a random encounter.​

GB: One thing RPGs have always struggled with is reconciling a player-directed story with defined gameplay mechanics. In Tides of Numenera, how much will stats and skills affect your ability to proceed in the story the way you want to? Will you be able to navigate the story however you want no matter what skills you have, or will certain branches and sub-plots be restricted to characters of certain skill sets?

Kevin: Skills are loosely defined in Numenera and it’s one of the aspects we’ll be tightening up for Torment. I’ve been impressed with many aspects of the Wasteland 2 skills system and think we’ll be able to leverage a lot of it well – basically what I mean by that is that the skills have interesting effects on gameplay and interacting both with people and the environment.​

GB: Obviously, Wasteland 2 lends itself rather well to 3D graphics and a fully-rotatable camera. The gulf in art and technology between Wasteland 2 and the original game means you can also get away with some creative license in interpreting that universe. But Planescape: Torment is well known for its fixed perspective and extremely detailed 3D pre-rendered backgrounds. Is the goal to go for entirely hand-drawn backgrounds, pre-rendered or full 3D with rotatable camera? How does this change the production and design for the game?

Kevin: We are still exploring the various options, considering gameplay implications, aesthetics, and, of course the resources that would be required. The decision will have many repercussions and we are still assessing. I can say that had we not received the tremendous support from the backers that we have that we wouldn’t have as many options here. Analyzing which method to improve the visuals of the game is a great problem to have. =)​

Stay tuned for our own Torment interview, which should be arriving sometime soon, I hope.

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